The crankshaft position (CKP) sensor can be considered the beating heart of the ignition system and your 3.3L Pontiac Grand Am comes equipped with one.
In this tutorial, I'll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the CKP sensor.
Contents of this tutorial:
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: El Sensor CKP ¿Qué Es Y Para Que Sirve? (1989-1993 3.3L V6 Buick, Oldsmobile) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
APPLIES TO: This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:
- 3.3L V6 Pontiac Grand Am: 1992, 1993.
What Does The CKP Sensor Do?
The fuel injection computer and the ignition control module need to know the position of the crankshaft as the engine runs. It's the crankshaft position (CKP) sensor that is tasked with this particular job.
With the crankshaft position information from the CKP sensor:
- The ignition control module (ICM) can now start activating the ignition coil packs (that sit on top of it).
- The fuel injection computer can start activating the fuel injectors.
What Happens When The CKP Sensor Goes Bad?
If the crankshaft position sensor stops functioning, it will stop creating and transmitting a crankshaft position signal to the ignition control module and the fuel injection computer.
In the next section, I'll explain some of the symptoms you'll see when the crankshaft position sensor fails.
What Problems Can A CKP Sensor Cause?
Since the crankshaft position sensor is such a critical component of the ignition system, when it fails the engine will usually not start (due to a lack of spark and fuel injection).
Although the computer is capable of setting a CKP sensor diagnostic trouble code, it rarely does. But if it does said a diagnostic trouble code, you'll see:
- Code 19: Crankshaft Position (CKP) Sensor Circuit Performance Problem.
How Can I Find Out If The CKP Sensor Is Bad?
The CKP sensor produces an ON/OFF voltage signal that can be easily verified.
This of course makes life a lot easier, since the best way to find out if the CKP sensor is bad or not, is by testing it. The CKP sensor test procedure is as follows:
- Checking for CKP sensor trouble codes stored in the fuel injection computer's memory.
- Making sure that the CKP sensor is getting power.
- Making sure that the CKP sensor is getting Ground.
- Making sure that the CKP sensor is producing an ON/OFF voltage signal.
Can I Drive My Vehicle With A Bad CKP Sensor?
In the majority of cases, when the CKP sensor fails, the engine in your vehicle is not going to start.
In those instances that the engine does start, you should not drive your vehicle since you risk being stranded wherever the CKP sensor decides to stop working.
More 3.3L Pontiac Grand Am Tutorials
You can find a complete list of 3.3L Pontiac Grand Am tutorials in this index:
Here's a small sample of the tutorials you'll find in the index:
- How To Test Engine Compression Test (3.3L V6 Pontiac Grand Am).
- How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (3.3L V6 Pontiac Grand Am).
- How To Test The MAF Sensor (3.3L V6 Pontiac Grand Am).
- What Does A MAF Sensor Do? (3.3L V6 Pontiac Grand Am).
If this info really saved the day, buy me a beer!